FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – One of the two men accused of setting the Market House on fire is encouraging other protesters to learn from his actions.
“Make sure you have a purpose, and not riots and looting or causing any distraction from the real message,” Charles Pittman said.
Pittman’s attorney, Allen Rogers, sent a video of Pittman speaking from jail.
“You have to do things the right way. And if anything wrong happens around you, you need to get away from that and separate yourself from it,” Pittman said.
Investigators said Pittman was seen on camera on top of the Market House on May 30 holding a red container as the building was set on fire.
He is facing the possibility of decades in prison if found guilty on the federal charges.
“That was not his best moment nor his best judgement,” Rogers said.
If found guilty, Rogers said his client should have to pay for the damage and complete community service, but not get a prison sentence, given the context of the situation.
“They haven’t proven that he was the one that caused the fire,” Rogers said.
“The emotion that was felt that day, had he not done it, somebody would have done it because the entire crowd was yelling burn it down,” Myah Warren said.
Warren is part of a newly formed group called Ville’s Voice. The group has been camping at the Market House since Wednesday night.
“We have a list of demands and we will not leave from downtown at the Market House until our demands are met,” Warren said.
Those demands include having a citizens review board, public reporting of police misconduct, and a crisis response team within the department, among other things.
They offered a free meal Thursday night for anyone wanting to join their cause.
“If we hear ‘burn it down,’ if we hear ‘F the police,’ anything that is negative, you will be asked to leave,” Warren said. “We do not want to be associated with anything negative because what we do here is very peaceful.”
Pittman, a father of two, also encouraged protesters to spread their message the right way.
“I’m very remorseful,” Pittman said. “I’m happy that nobody got hurt and, going forward, I just want everything to be peaceful, legal, and I just want things to be resolved in a peaceful manner.”
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